Green Job Training in the Southeast

Guest Blog | August 22, 2011 | Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy

Recently, it seems that every politician has the exact same top three priorities: Jobs, Jobs and Jobs. Some of those jobs can come in the form of green jobs. Green jobs vary from manufacturing and construction to sales and consulting. Apollo Alliance, a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups championing green employment defines a green job as: “paying decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment.”

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, Labor Market Information Section, Green Jobs Study, Spring 2011
Distribution of Green Jobs in Tennessee. Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, Labor Market Information Section, Green Jobs Study, Spring 2011

Sold on green jobs but not sure where to start? Several colleges and organizations offer quick training in the field of your choice and some manufacturing companies partner with neighboring colleges to train future employees. Listed below are just a few upcoming green job training opportunities here in the Southeast:

One-day, weekend, or week-long workshops:

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification is highly recommended for individuals pursuing employment in solar PV, solar thermal, and small wind installation fields.  Several Southeastern groups provide the training necessary for the NABCEP tests, as well as other certifications. If you are interested in certification, here are some non-degree training programs to check out:

  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.)- ASU’s 2011 workshop series is in full swing. Most workshops are held on Saturdays. Upcoming sessions include Community Scale Wind, Solar Hot Water, Small Wind, Microhydro, and PV Design, and the National Electric Code.
  • North Carolina Solar Center (Raleigh, N.C.)- NCSC is hosting week-long classes this fall in solar PV, solar thermal, small wind, and green building.
  • Southface (Atlanta, Ga.) – Southface is a great resource for one-day training in a variety of energy efficiency fields, such as building weatherization and energy auditing.
  • Tennessee Solar Institute (throughout Tenn.) – TSI partnered with colleges across the state in the past year to provide free, week-long training courses in solar PV installation.

There are several local colleges who have semester courses in a variety of green fields. For example, Pellissippi State in Knoxville, Tennessee has a solar PV installation program.

Solar Manufacturing

Recently, Tennessee has attracted several large solar manufacturing facilities. These companies are partnering with local colleges to provide training for future employees.

These are just a few of the green job training opportunities available in our region, and more will develop as the market for renewable energy grows here and elsewhere. The Southeast is expected to be a manufacturing hub for the rest of the nation, according to the Department of Energy’s report 20% Wind Energy by 2030. Solar energy job growth in the Southeast has grown at least 34% just in the past year according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census. In addition, there’s huge opportunity in the Southeast for energy efficiency improvements. As our nation’s clean energy portfolio grows, the Southeast is primed and ready to be a leader in green manufacturing and services.

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